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Andrew Mercier to run for provincial NDP in Langley

Andrew Mercier is the NDP candidate for the provincial Langley riding. - Frank Bucholtz/Langley Times
Andrew Mercier is the NDP candidate for the provincial Langley riding.
— image credit: Frank Bucholtz/Langley Times

Andrew Mercier is the new NDP candidate for the provincial riding of Langley.

He was acclaimed at the party’s nomination meeting on Sunday in the community room of the Murrayville Library.

NDP leader Adrian Dix, who was the guest speaker at the event, explained that the party hurried its nomination process along because it had to be ready in case Premier Christy Clark called a fall election, as she had been talking about until just a few weeks ago.

“It was the largest fire drill in provincial history,” Dix said.

Mercier, 26, recently served as campaign manager for Langley federal NDP candidate Piotr Majkowski. He recruited a team of volunteers, many of them young people. With a strong local campaign and the effective national campaign which led to the NDP becoming Official Opposition for the first time, they boosted the NDP vote total in the riding to 11,235 — the best showing the party had ever delivered.

A delivery driver, he is a political science graduate of the University of New Brunswick and a lifetime Langley resident.

Majkowski, who formally nominated him, said there are many people in Langley who are ready to vote NDP despite “the political scene in Langley leaving something to be desired from a progressive viewpoint.”

Mercier noted that, in the federal campaign, the party was successful in getting people who normally do not participate in the process to vote. He sees that as key to the NDP winning in Langley.

“The next election is important. We’re going to win it, and win it in Langley. Piotr and Kathleen (Stephany, the 2009 provincial candidate), have put us within striking distance.”

Mercier said the BC Liberal government, in addition to its botched introduction of the HST, is now dragging its feet on replacing it with the PST, as voters agreed to do in the mail-in referendum.

He said this delay is hurting the real estate and construction industries and is causing unemployment.

“People can’t wait to buy a home for 18 months,” he said.

He said the HST is harmful to families, costing them additional money while giving business a $2 billion tax break.

Mercier referred to his education costs, and praised Dix for proposing a system of grants for the most needy students, to be financed out of restoring a tax on banks.

He had started his education at the University of the Fraser Valley but finished in New Brunswick because it ended up being cheaper, despite the cost of living there and travelling back and forth.

Dix told the 50 in attendance that Jack Layton “dreamed big” for the NDP and increased its vote and seat total in each federal election he contested. He said the 2011 breakthrough results in Quebec were the result of seven years of hard work in  letting Quebeckers know what the NDP stood for.

Dix said he has a similar vision for areas of B.C.. like the Okanagan and Fraser Valley, that traditionally have elected Liberals (or Socreds before that). He pledged to visit Langley frequently, as he believes the seat can be won by Mercier.

Dix said that  one issue important to Langley residents is transportation, and promised an NDP government would dedicate at least some of the carbon tax revenue towards transit.

He added that Michelle Laurie will be acclaimed as candidate in Fort Langley-Aldergrove at an upcoming meeting.

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